Chicago Bulls: Preseason win over Cavs proved one huge difference

Chicago Bulls (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bulls (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports) /

When the Chicago Bulls opened their 2021 preseason Tuesday night, all eyes were on the newly-assembled roster to see just what they could do.

To fans’ excitement, Billy Donovan’s guys came out with a bang and never looked back. It was an absolutely dominant performance over the Cavs as the Bulls won 131-95.

That doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as the Bulls coasted through the fourth quarter. Through three quarters, Chicago scored 113 points — indicative of an offense Bulls fans haven’t seen in quite a long time.

Prior to the game, Donovan told media he thought the Bulls had a great passing team. Over everything else, that’s the one thing that stood out in this one. The Bulls’ offense was clicking on all cylinders, and the unselfishness was easy to see.

The Chicago Bulls’ preseason win over the Cavs proved that this year’s offense will be different.

We knew bringing in Lonzo Ball was going to make a huge impact on the offense overall, as his passing prowess was something lacking within this roster. But, his defense was also something the Bulls needed to add.

In 26 minutes, Ball scored eight points, dished out five assists, grabbed five rebounds, and added three steals to go along with two blocks. He played complete basketball, which was to be expected.

However, arguably the most impressive player on Tuesday night was not Ball. It wasn’t DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine. It wasn’t even Nikola Vucevic.

The most impressive player against the Cavs on Tuesday was Alex Caruso, who finished with a double-double — 10 points and 10 assists.

Get this: Caruso’s performance came in just 20 minutes. In just 20 minutes, Caruso either scored or assisted on 20 of the Bulls’ points. That is efficiency we haven’t seen from a Bulls player in quite a long time.

Overall, Donovan was right about his guys. They are a phenomenal passing team, as evidenced by the surplus of easy dunks the Bulls had in this game. In total, Chicago assisted on 36 of 51 buckets made.

If we want to take it a step further, the Bulls had 26 assists to just four turnovers when Ball checked out for the game, late in the third quarter.

This year’s team is going to be different, and it starts with the unselfish play from the Bulls’ guards. Between Ball and Caruso, the Bulls got themselves a pair of playmakers whose sole aim is to put their teammates in position to score. If their first game together was any indication, these two are about to make a monumental impact on Chicago’s ball movement and offense as a whole.

Balance will be the key with these guys under Donovan, and that’ exactly what they showed on Tuesday night. The ball movement and passing was superb. It’s safe to say that, based on just a single game, there are a whole lot of critics who could end up eating their words if the Bulls continue with this type of play.

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